*Please confirm that your facility may open under the State Order. Where there is
a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more restrictive order must be followed.
The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be followed in addition to this mandatory
Issued: July 14, 2020
Updated: September 8, 2020
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.
On August 28, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy (“Blueprint”), a statewide system of COVID-19 restrictions. Santa Clara County is currently in Tier Two (Red) of the Blueprint.
Under the Blueprint, the State Health Officer has ordered that bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations (both indoor and outdoor) unless they are offering sit-down, outdoor dine-in meals and selling alcohol only in the same transaction as a meal. See the Statewide Public Health Officer Order here and the State’s Blueprint here. These businesses may not operate except in accordance with the Statewide Public Health Officer Order and the State Blueprint.
Restaurants and other food facilities that prepare and serve sit-down meals as
well as wineries and tasting rooms may operate for outdoor service only if they comply with all the Health
Officer’s rules to ensure that they are operated as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because they involve handling of consumable items and can also involve significant interaction between
members of different households, outdoor dining facilities, wineries, and tasting rooms must take extra
precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for their customers and staff.
Under this Directive, restaurants and other permitted food facilities that provide sit-down meals are allowed to open
for outdoor dining. Bars, breweries, brewpubs, pubs, and distilleries may open for outdoor dining if they themselves
provide sit-down meals or if they contract with a permitted food vendor (such as a permitted mobile food truck) to
provide sit-down meals. Indoor dining is prohibited, as is indoor and outdoor alcohol service by brew pubs,
breweries, bars, pubs, and similar establishments, which is not part of sit-down meal service. These facilities may
otherwise sell their products on a takeaway basis only. Wineries and tasting rooms may also open subject to the
rules in this Directive.
This Directive explains how outdoor dining facilities, wineries, and outdoor tasting rooms may operate.
This Directive is mandatory, and failure to follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s
Order issued on July 2, 2020 (“Order”). You must comply with the Order
and all requirements of this Directive. Food facilities must also comply with the Health Officer’s
Mandatory Directive for Food Facilities.
Outdoor dining, placement of outdoor seating arrangements, food service, and winery and tasting operations must
comply with state and local laws, regulations, and permitting requirements. Major changes to food service
operations, such as the addition of cleaning stations, food preparation areas, or food storage areas may require
advance approval by the Department of Environmental Health (DEH). Contact the DEH for more information at: www.EHinfo.org, DEHWEB@cep.sccgov.org, or (408) 918-3400.
The Order Issued July 2
The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as
safe as possible, including but not limited to the following:
- The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses must fill out and submit the newest version of
the Social Distancing Protocol to the County using the online form, available here. The
Protocol is submitted under penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and
accurate to the best of the signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime. The Protocol
must be distributed to all workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order.
- Signage: All businesses must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social
Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility entrances.
These are available for printing after submission of the Social Distancing Protocol online.
- Face Coverings: Everyone at a business facility or worksite must wear a face covering at all
times (except very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for
communication by or with people who are hearing impaired). This Directive specifies when face coverings
may be removed while eating or drinking outdoors.
- Density Limitation: All businesses must limit the number of people who may be at the facility
at the same time. For staff members, the limit is 1 person per 250 gross square feet of indoor facility
space (this means total space, including areas open only to staff like storage rooms). For customers, the
limit is 1 person per 150 square feet of indoor space open to the public. The density requirements tell
businesses how many people (staff or clients) they can let into their facility before another person
leaves. Children under 12 who are accompanying a parent or guardian do not count against the limit, but
everyone age 12 and over does. This Directive describes a limited exception to the density
limitation applicable only to food facilities.
See the Order and the FAQ page for more
In addition to the general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order and the measures set forth in
the Directive for Food Facilities, all outdoor dining facilities and outdoor bars must also comply with the
Rules for All Outdoor Dining Facilities, Wineries, and Outdoor Tasting
- Provide Outdoor Service Only
- Dining and tasting service is limited to outdoor areas only. Customers
eating and/or drinking at the business may enter indoor areas only to use the restroom or hand-washing
stations, to order and pick up food from a quick-service operation, or to walk through an indoor area in
order to access outdoor seating areas. All indoor seating areas must be closed to customers.
Face coverings must be worn at all times when indoors.
- To be allowed to open under the Order and this Directive, an outdoor dining facility or tasting room
must allow for the free flow of outdoor air through the entire space. To meet this requirement, the
seating area must have at least three sides open, with no more than four-foot-high walls that do not
impede the free flow of air through the space. Umbrellas, canopies, awnings, and other shade structures
are allowed only if they do not have sides.
- Require Workers and Customers to Wear Face Coverings
- Workers at outdoor dining facilities, wineries, and outdoor tasting rooms must wear face
coverings at all times (except if it would be unsafe for their job, if a face covering is
medically inadvisable, or if necessary for communication by or with a person who is hearing impaired).
- Customers must wear face coverings while: waiting in line, going to or from their table,
ordering their meals or interacting with a server or staff, seated at a table and waiting for
food/drink or a check to arrive, after meal and beverages have been consumed, inside a facility to
use a restroom or order/pick up food from a quick-service operation, touring winery grounds, and at
other times that a facility requires to keep workers and customers safe. Face coverings are
not required for very young children, people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable, or for
communication by or with people who are hearing impaired. Face coverings may be removed to eat or
drink, while seated at a table outdoors.
- Restrict Alcohol Service
- For outdoor dining operations, alcohol may only be sold to customers in the same transaction as a meal.
For instance, if a brewery opens for outdoor dining by contracting with a food truck, customers that
purchase alcohol from the brewery must also purchase a meal from the food truck on the same ticket.
Likewise, if a restaurant serves alcohol from its bar, it may only sell that alcohol to customers as
part of their meal service.
- Alcohol service at outdoor tasting rooms and wineries must comply with the additional measures for
outdoor tasting rooms and wineries specified below.
- Discontinue Entertainment
- Live entertainment events such as concerts and performances are not allowed at this time.
- Make Sure That Workers and Customers Maintain 6-Foot Social Distancing
facilities and outdoor bars must do all of the following to make sure that customers and staff maintain a safe
social distance of at least 6 feet from everyone outside their own household:
- Offer curbside pickup, takeaway, and/or delivery service alternatives so that customers who
prefer to consume their meals or products at home or other places away from the facility can do so.
- Separate all tables to ensure that at least 6 feet of distance, and ideally more, can easily be
maintained between members of separate households at all times. This will generally require that the
edge of each table be spaced at least 10 feet apart from the edge of the
nearest table, to allow at least six feet between customers seated at different
tables. Create passageways to allow customers to freely access their tables while maintaining at
least six feet of distance from seated customers and ensure that members of the public are able to
maintain six feet of social distance while passing by the dining area.
- Expand outdoor seating where possible along right of ways or other outdoor areas as approved by local
jurisdictions to maximize spacing between tables.
- Allow no more than six people per table.
- Post signage and verbally inform all customers that everyone sharing a table must be from the same
household. Restaurants should inform customers of this requirement when taking reservations and/or
seating customers (or, for quick service operations, when taking food orders).
- Close off bar/counter seating areas and do not allow any customers to sit or stand at the bar/counter,
either to order items or to eat or drink them.
- Encourage or require reservations or advise customers to call in advance to confirm seating/serving
capacity and prevent crowding while customers wait for tables. When taking reservations, notify
customers via digital platforms and/or by phone about social distancing and face covering requirements
at the facility.
- Require customers to wait for their tables from their cars, or outdoors away from the facility where
they can comfortably maintain at least 6-foot social distance from people from other households. If
possible, alert customers by phone or text message when their table is ready to avoid use of shared
devices such as buzzers.
- Quick-service (fast food) restaurants must manage outdoor seating areas to ensure compliance with social
distancing requirements. Quick-service restaurants may allow customers to enter the facility to order
and pick up food so long as they:
- Restrict the number of customers inside the facility at any time to no more than 1 customer per
150 square feet of space accessible to the public. Children under 12 who are accompanying a
parent or guardian do not count against the limit, but everyone age 12 and over does.
- Place tape or other markings on the floor where customer wait for food or go through service
lines to ensure that they maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from everyone outside
- Customers must follow all social distancing rules that are listed in this Directive or required
by the facility, including that everyone sharing a table must be from the same household.
- Density Limitations
- Limit the number of staff inside the facility at any time to 1 staff member per 250 gross square feet of
the facility, except that facilities with 1,000 square feet of space or less may have up to 4 staff
members inside at any time. Limit the number of customers and other people inside the facility at any
time to 1 person per 150 gross square feet of the facility that is open to the public. Children
under 12 who are accompanying a parent or guardian do not count against the limit, but everyone age 12
and over does.
- For example, a 700 square foot food facility may have up to 4 staff members inside at any time.
If 300 square feet of space is accessible to the public, 2 customers may also be inside the
facility at any time.
- Minimize Contact Between Workers and Customers
- Consider allowing customers to place their orders ahead of arriving at the establishment to limit the
amount of time spent at the establishment.
- Seat parties one at a time so that people from multiple households are not walking together with the
host at the same time.
- Require staff to minimize the amount of time spent within 6 feet of customers (such as while serving
food or taking away plates) and other staff members.
- Limit the number of staff members who serve individual parties. Consider assigning the same server to
each party for the entire experience (so long as there is no conflict with mandatory meal and rest break
- Once food or drinks leave the kitchen or preparation area, they must be taken directly to the table. Do
not allow staff to place food at wait stations or visit multiple tables in one trip.
- Discontinue all outdoor food and drink preparation, except as approved by the Department of
Environmental Health (such as a permitted outdoor barbecue station). Do not provide tableside food or
drink preparation (such as tableside salad preparation) or tableside food presentation (such as food
item selection from carts).
- Promote Hand Hygiene and Increase Sanitization and Disinfection of the Facilities
- Require servers to wash or sanitize their hands between visiting each customer party.
- Provide hand sanitizer for use by customers when entering the establishment, and at every table.
- Equip common spaces such as outdoor dining areas, host stands, and kitchens with proper and adequate
supplies of sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes. Sanitation products must
be readily available to all staff directly assisting customers.
- Thoroughly clean and sanitize each customer eating/drinking location (including tables and chairs)
before seating the next customer group, following CDC guidelines. Quick-service
restaurants must clean tables and chair between use by each group of customers.
- Clean and disinfect restrooms at least every hour, following CDC guidelines.
- Frequently sanitize all high-touch surfaces, including railings and counters where customers pick up
- Avoid High-Touch Areas and Objects
- Do not allow customers to serve themselves from buffets, salad bars, and other self-service food
areas and beverage dispensers. Food and beverages may be dispensed only by staff.
- Ensure that all utensils and foodware are properly washed, rinsed, and sanitized between use, or provide
single-service utensils and foodware.
- Pre-roll utensils in napkins prior to giving them to customers and store the utensil rolls in a clean
container. The utensil roll should be placed on the table after customers are seated by a staff member
who has recently washed their hands or handed directly to customers when picking up food at a
quick-service operation. Do not allow customers to grab their own utensils or napkins from common
- Do not leave mints, candies, toothpicks, or similar items out for customers to grab.
- Remove salt and pepper shakers and condiment bottles from tables and close self-service dispensers to
customers. Provide single-use items directly to customers. If single-use items are not available,
provide salt/pepper shakers and condiment bottles only upon request, and sanitize the shakers/bottles
thoroughly between each use.
- Provide disposable or digital menus or, if not possible, sanitize menus before and after use by each
customer party. Remove all other shared items from tables, such as card stands and napkin dispensers.
- Provide leftovers containers to customers only upon request and require customers to fill the containers
Additional Measures for Outdoor Tasting Rooms and Wineries
In addition to all applicable measures above, outdoor tasting rooms and wineries must comply with the following
- Alcohol tastings may occur by appointment only. Take measures to ensure that tasting group appointment times do
not overlap to minimize interaction of people from different groups and places.
- Provide a clean glass for each tasting and do not pour beverages into a glass that a customer has already used
(e.g. smelled or tasted from).
- Discontinue use of communal dump buckets, spit buckets, spittoon, and similar vessels. Provide individual,
disposable cups to each guest instead to avoid splash contamination between guests.
- Beverages may only handled or poured by staff. Staff must avoid touching beverage container necks to cups,
glasses, etc. when pouring wine, beer, or spirits.
- Discontinue tours that combine individuals from different households into the same tour group. Tour guides must
maintain at least six feet of social distance from customers/visitors.
For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page. Please note that
this Directive may be updated. For up-to-date information on the Health Officer Order, visit the
County Public Health Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus.